“Go bush in Portugal at this colourful eco-retreat, close to some of the country's finest beaches”
Divided between Casa da Eira and Casa do Monte, each of the 7 guest rooms is named after a place where Sofia and Jorge have worked or travelled together. Ethnic fabrics, bright colour schemes and decorative objets all take the place name as their touchstone.
The original farmhouse, Casa da Eira, is a long building with thick outer walls made of the region's traditional taipa. Here you’ll find the 3 double rooms: Krabi, Citrana and Zammour. They’re big and airy with plenty of space for easy chairs and a table. Krabi and Citrana can also be made up as twin rooms.
The 4 suites have a separate living room with a sofa or mezzanine beds, and a private kitchenette. The largest suite - Mangalore - has space for up to 5 adults and is the only suite found in the Casa da Eira building.
The remaining 3 suites - Chaouen, Tissamaharama and Sotouboua - are found in Casa do Monte. Located a few hundred metres further into the forest, on top of a hill, this building also has thick outer walls and the suites feature striking sections of unrendered taipa. We happily resided in the Chaouen Suite during our 2015 revisit, and were charmed by the Moroccan lanterns and ornately painted shutters. Also, our toddler loved being able to clamber onto the low daybeds in the living room. We really enjoyed the sense of peace and escapism, but it could feel isolated for folk who prefer plenty of company.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll get a private entrance and a slice of terrace with comfy cane seating and heather blinds for shade. Polished concrete floors hide surprisingly effective solar-generated underfloor heating, and those thick outer walls mean that even in the height of summer a ceiling fan alone will keep you cool.
All rooms are spotlessly clean and have decent-sized shower rooms. Freestanding sinks are set into shiny screed surfaces and there’s a simple hanging rack for your towels. You’ll also get shower gel, shampoo and a small bar of soap made locally from natural products.
Just beneath the main house, the breakfast casita is the epitome of 'going bush' at Muxima. Resembling a breezy beach shack with views out across the valley, it has low adobe walls, a corrugated tin roof with heather matting, and wooden shutters which can be dropped down according to the season.
A big buffet breakfast is laid up along its wooden counter and small tables are painted in bright, cheerful colours. It’s a wonderfully sociable affair, where guests often sit and chat for hours over fresh local bread, homemade jams, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit and eggs. Each day there’s a different (and delicious) homemade cake. We enjoyed banana bread and sweet potato cake during our stay. This is the time to talk to Jorge and Sofia about the day ahead; they are always generous with their time.
If you've booked a suite you may choose to make use of its small kitchenette. Simply equipped with pots and pans, crockery, a small fridge, an electric hob, a juicer, a microwave and a mini dishwasher - perfect for families needing to feed babies and kids on demand.
Otherwise, you'll need to drive for lunch and dinner. Aljezur is less than 5 minutes away and has a local food market, a large supermarket and various eateries. This attractive small town has a huge ex-pat population (about a third!) so expect to hear a good deal of English being spoken.
Jorge and Sofia's restaurant recommendations include Pont a Pé (in the centre of Aljezur) for traditional Alentejo cooking with friendly owners and welcoming prices, and Restaurante L-Colesterol for delicious tapas in a fun reggae atmosphere - in the summer there’s often live music. Newer discoveries include Hello Sailors in Arrifana, offering hearty, healthy pan-Asian food to keep the hungriest of surfers satisfied. They even have some kids’ options and it’s a cool hangout to people watch. In and around Aljezur, there’s Gulli for great Italian food and Arte Bianca for tasty takeaway pizzas.
If you're wondering where you'll get a pre- or post-dinner tipple, worry not. Muxima's honesty bar provides the perfect excuse to watch day turn to dusk on your terrace.
Jorge and Sofia, who have 2 children themselves, are genuinely welcoming and love to have families here. When we stayed, a high chair and a travel cot were set up in our room, and they provided a box of building blocks for our toddler to play with.There's plenty to do on the farm and in the surrounding forest, before you even start exploring the nearby area and beaches. Kids will love it, whether they're learning to surf, visiting the free-range pigs, playing in the Wendy house, settling into the mezzanine beds or swimming in the eco-friendly pool.
The only extra cost to be aware of is the small supplement for extra beds and cots (see rates).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The suites have kitchenettes and plenty of space for extra guests, plus those in Casa do Monte offer added seclusion and privacy. We'd recommend the Tissamaharama and Chaouen suites (in Casa do Monte) for families with 1 or 2 children (they have space for 2 extra beds in the living room area). For those with 2 children or more, the Mangalore suite is the biggest overall and can hold a total of 3 extra beds. Note that all rooms have showers only, but baby baths are available on request.
Babysitting is available on request with a Portuguese or English speaker (see rates).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Each suite has a kitchenette complete with a microwave, a hob, a mini dishwasher, a small fridge and pots and pans. Bottles can be warmed. The buffet breakfasts have something for everyone and the nearest restaurants are 1.5km away. It's also possible to get takeaways.
There's a mobile phone signal everywhere in the property; the closest shop for nappies etc is 1.5km away in Aljezur